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PA Posts by Month & Year

Ode To My Central Sulcus

In my time, I’ve certainly been accused of being a little different. The exact wording usually goes something like, “I’ve never heard anyone play/think of/say it like that before,” or “You are so original,” or “You’ve always been on the edge.” They don’t specify the edge of what. If I had a nickel every time . . . → Read More: Ode To My Central Sulcus

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PA Shorts: Onwards & Upwards

Recently, while in the preparation phase of a presentation, I asked what some of our college students wished they had known before coming to study at a more advanced level. Some of these students were still in High School, some were college music majors or non-majors, and others were adults from the community. They were . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Onwards & Upwards

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Artist Portrait: Nathan Williamson

Nathan Williamson is a pianist, composer and conductor with ties to both the UK and the US. We chatted via email about his musical growing up, his musical mentors, balancing a varied career, his current projects, and more. Enjoy!

What was growing up in music like for you? Was there a special moment when you . . . → Read More: Artist Portrait: Nathan Williamson

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What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Wow! This is finals week. How exactly did that happen?

We have a Mockingbird nest in our tree and have been amused as the parents have patiently enticed their little ones out into the world by patiently moving the food further and further away. They have flown now and we can walk in our backyard . . . → Read More: What I Did On My Summer Vacation

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Artist Portrait: Ola Gjeilo

Say hello to composer and pianist Ola Gjeilo. Ola’s concert works are performed all over the world and he recently finished a residency with the Phoenix Chorale. Both of his piano albums have been recognized for a wonderful spontaniety contrasted with contemplative melodic lines and rich harmonies. We audio chatted over Skype to bring you . . . → Read More: Artist Portrait: Ola Gjeilo

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PA Shorts: On Forging A Personal Musical Connection

I’m always encouraging students to find something personal in their music—something from their own lives and experience. Often, they look at me like I have lobsters crawling out of my ears. But, I made this practice chart, they say. Should I use my third finger here? Why doesn’t (name your pianist here) follow the dynamics . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: On Forging A Personal Musical Connection

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The Anti-Masterclass

Antimatter: Any substance that, when combined with an equal amount of matter, results in the complete and direct conversion of all substance to energy. (WhatIs.com)

Anti-Masterclass: Any masterclass that, when combined with an equal part of input from all participants, results in the complete and direct conversion of all playing to energy and artistry.

I . . . → Read More: The Anti-Masterclass

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Playing With Wolfgang: My Dog Ate My Minuet

The first time I ever worked on a Bach dance movement I felt like I had encountered an alien landscape. I had grown up on Bach chorales but somehow those sober, staid, and reverent tunes just did not help me with the dances. Of course, I am the person who was laughed out of . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: My Dog Ate My Minuet

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PA Shorts: Boundaries

“You can’t fill up when you’re holding your breath. And writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water—just as writing is also about dealing with the emptiness.” (Ann Lamott)

I like the part about letting ideas and smells run down like water. . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Boundaries

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A Personal Lesson In Promise

The following is a portion of a speech I gave last Saturday at the local kick off for the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition. I was asked to speak, to those interested in entering and the local auxiliary who sponsors entrants, on my passion for music and give them some words of advice. The word . . . → Read More: A Personal Lesson In Promise

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Rocking Piano Down The Runway

http://jasonhargrove.com/

“Whoa! Not many people could pull that dress off,” I thought as I gazed at the pictures on Pinterest. The dress was low cut and red, with the bodice made entirely of roses. Next to it, was a short dress of ivy and pink roses. As I scrolled down I saw many variations . . . → Read More: Rocking Piano Down The Runway

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Playing With Wolfgang: Ives for Boston

A few years ago I got out Thoreau from Ives’ Concord Sonata and decided to discover it. As you all know I’m a sucker for pieces about the outdoors, plus there’s that flute solo which is quite delicious. For several reasons the project was never completed and the piece languished near the bottom of my . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Ives for Boston

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PA Shorts: As Time Goes By

Last Thursday, film critic Roger Ebert lost his long battle with cancer. I was listening to a Fresh Air interview by Terry Gross and was struck by the following:

I went to see “La Dolce Vita” by Fellini, and that movie has been a touchstone for me, because when I saw it in 1960, there . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: As Time Goes By

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Matching Quiz

Tomorrow evening is our EAC Piano Recital. We always try to do something to make the evening special for both the performers and the audience. This spring, we decided to choose quotations to project behind each pianist as they perform. There were no limits on the origin of the quotation. The only stipulation was that . . . → Read More: Matching Quiz

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Artist Portrait: Shai Wosner

It’s good for your health as a musician to be in the company of other good musicians. I don’t think I could really exist as a musician without that.

And, pianist Shai Wosner practices what he preaches! He is currently off an a European tour playing trios by Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert . . . → Read More: Artist Portrait: Shai Wosner

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Vintage PA: What’s On The Inside

“Wow !” I said, “You are like a different pianist!” And she was. Before, there had been surges and awkward accents in the opening to her Intermezzo, impossible to remove despite hard work on both of our parts. Now, after one week on meds for ADHD, there was a beautiful calm flow and elegance about . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: What’s On The Inside

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